Hanover, PA asked in Child Custody for Pennsylvania

Q: Where do I file for custody and how? Illinois or Pennsylvania? I just moved back to IL from PA after 11 Months.

My daughter was born in 2015 in PA (with both myself and her biological father on the birth certificate), we spent 2 years here and moved to IL for about a year to stay with her paternal grandparents. December of 2018 I separated from her Biological father (we were not married) and I moved my daughter and I to Pennsylvania for 11 months. I've recently decided to go back to IL and we will be moving 10/25/2019 (in a few days from this post). I would like to file for sole custody of my daughter in case her biological father wants to re-enter her life and try to fight me on custody. He has shown no interest nor tried to support her at all in the 11 months since our separation. I want to file for full parental responsibility of her and need to know where to file... am i suppose to file in PA because we've been here for 11 months or do I file in IL where we are going to be in just a few short days?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Penelope A. Boyd
Penelope A. Boyd
  • Divorce Lawyer
  • West Chester, PA
  • Licensed in Pennsylvania

A: It depends. If you want to file right away, you probably should consult an attorney in Pennsylvania, because it would be the child's "home state" for interstate jurisdictional purposes. Generally, a "home state" is the state where the child lived for six months prior to the filing of the custody action. There are exceptions and it may make sense for you to also contact a lawyer in Illinois, since you and the father and the child will all be in that state.

I cannot speak to the custody law in Illinois, but in Pennsylvania it would be difficult to get a custody order cutting her father out of her life, if he wants to be part of it and if he is not unfit for some reason. He would get notice of the custody action and make a decision that you cannot control.

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